Looking for free or shared USENET? You’ll find it out there, but there will be limitations on what you get.
First and foremost, free USENET is not going to come with the speed you’ll get from a paid connection. Given that paid USENET services aren’t particularly expensive, finding free USENET might be more trouble than it’s worth.
Shared accounts allow you to use the same subscription on multiple IPs. You can use this to download to two separate computers, of course, or you can use it to get higher bandwidth by downloading from multiple IP addresses. The important thing is that the provider has to allow you to connect from multiple IPs simultaneously.
Most USENET providers—the paid ones—will be able to max out your bandwidth with a single IP address connected. For some users, however, more speed is always better, and that’s where multiple IPs come in.
Configuring this is not easy and will require that you have two connections from your ISP. If you do it correctly, however, you can theoretically increase your download speed by connecting to the server from two separate ISP connections.
Here are some providers that offer shared accounts. Note that most of them will only allow sharing on certain types of accounts. Accounts that offer unlimited transfers, in most cases, will not allow account sharing.
Eweka.nl: You can share accounts from this provider with their Standard Account package.
ExtremeUSENET: Any of their account packages offer shared connections
Usenet-News: You can share block access accounts with this provider.
XSNews: Account sharing allowed on Basic and Pro packages.
EasyUSENET: Account sharing is allowed.
If you want free USENET that has tolerable speeds, you’ll want to go with a free trial option from a good provider. Keep in mind that permanently free connections tend to have very important limitations, such as:
Free USENET services, generally speaking, are better as backups for your main service rather than as a primary means of accessing newsgroups.
Just4Today.net: You’ll have to get a new password for this service every day. There’s no SSL and you’re limited to two connections and a maximum download rate of around 10mbps.
Newshosting: They offer a free trial, but you’ll have to give them a credit card number or a PayPal account to sign up. The trial allows you to download 30GB of data or to use the service for fourteen days, whichever comes first.
Premieumize.me isn’t free, but it’s very cheap. The tradeoff is that the download speed is low compared to other providers.
Tele2 will give you free access over IPv6. You can only use two connections on this server, however, and it has very low retention times.
UsenetBucket: This provider will let you download 5GB of data or keep the connection for seven days if you don’t reach that limit. The advantage with this one is that you don’t have to provide a credit card.
XS4ALL: This service is free over IPv6. There’s no encryption, three connections maximum and a download limit of 150kbps.
XSNews: This provider limits you to a 20mbps download speed on their free IPv6 connections.
XSUSENET: This provider offers a limited bandwidth account with a very low retention speed. You can’t get any faster than 1mbit on this provider’s free option.
If you plan on running multiple connections to the same USENET account over more than one IP, be prepared to put some work into configuring it. With the right provider, however, it can be done and you might benefit by doubling your download speeds.
If you don’t mind a wait when downloading and aren’t a frequent USENET user, some of the free account options might be good choices for you.